A peaceful, hopeful throng of 300 students, parents, faculty, staff and other deeply concerned San Francisco Catholics gathered on the Geary Plaza of St. Mary's Cathedral during the busy evening commute for this Ash Wednesday vigil.
The prayer service was led by students, each of whom identified themselves by school. Sacred Heart Cathedral, St. Ignatius, Riordan, Marin Catholic, Serra and Mercy Burlingame were well represented - as were several grammar schools including Star of the Sea, St. Finn Barr, St. Paul's, and St. Cecilia's.
After these passionate and eloquent Catholic school students read, sang and spoke, the crowd peacefully and quietly followed them, many holding banners and signs reading Teach Acceptance, down the sidewalks along Geary and Gough, forming a beautiful candlelight human wraparound of St. Mary's Cathedral as the sun went down.
Many commuters honked their horns in support and shouted hopeful messages as the vigil continued throughout the evening. Seven local television news reporters, several print reporters, and photographers only empowered our students even more. One senior said "I went to public grammar school so many of my closest friends are at other SF schools - and they keep asking me if I now regret going to SHC. I tell them we're getting at least as good a classroom education as they are - but we're agents for social change, out on the street, fully supported by our teachers - and you guys are reading about us in the paper. Regret? No way."